Palace boss Vieira against players’ strike over welfare concerns

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira insists he would not support a players’ strike, but admits he is concerned over pushing anyone back too soon after recovering from Covid.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has spoken out over issues of welfare not being taken seriously enough while Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola suggested a strike may be the only way to call serious attention to the concerns amid a Premier League fixture pile-up.

The intensity of the Christmas schedule, and the burden it places on players, is an annual subject of debate, but this year the issue is being exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The 45-year-old feels the hectic run of fixtures can be managed, but stressed there needs to be careful consideration for any player working their way back from a coronavirus infection.

“I don’t know if they would be right to do it, the only thing I can tell you is I am against this kind of strike,” Vieira said ahead of Palace’s trip to Tottenham on Boxing Day.

“What is really important at the moment is the voice of players or managers should be heard a little bit more.”

The former Arsenal captain added: “I am not worried about the players’ welfare regarding the games during this period because it has been like that for years and years. What I am worried about is the players’ welfare regarding Covid.

“I think players coming back from a Covid situation and asking them to play, having not had enough training, is a lot on them. This is what I am worried about.”

Meanwhile, ex-Palace midfielder Darren Ambrose thinks the club should “break the bank” to sign Conor Gallagher from Chelsea in the summer.

The 21-year-old has been in fantastic form for the Eagles this term, contributing six goals and three assists in 16 Premier League matches.

Unfortunately for Palace they only have him on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season but it’s hard to imagine him playing regularly at Stamford Bridge anytime soon, despite his heroics this term.

Ambrose said: “100 per cent – and I mean break the bank! £60m would do it. He’s playing every week, he’s happy. I think Palace is a club going forward. They’ve got a manager in Patrick Vieira who is someone you want to learn of.”

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